Neymar Jr. scored a brilliant hat-trick for Brazil against Peru in the South American qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Estadio Nacional in Lima on Tuesday. He helped his national side register a morale-boosting 4-2 victory over the hosts.

In the process, the 28-year old Brazilian became the country's second-highest goalscorer ever. While doing so, the Paris Saint-Germain striker surpassed Ronaldo Nazário's tally of 62 international goals. As of now, Neymar has 64 goals to his name.

Neymar celebrated by gesturing the number nine with his hands as a tribute to Ronaldo, who during his playing days used to wear the iconic number nine jersey. Later, the PSG star paid tribute to Ronaldo on Twitter.

Todo meu respeito por ti FENÔMENO @Ronaldo 👆🏽👉🏽👇🏽☝🏽

— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) October 14, 2020

Currently, the former Barcelona forward is only behind Pele. The 79-year old Brazilian great has 77 goals to his name. Pele also won three World Cup titles in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He is the only player ever to achieve such a feat. According to BBC, Pele played 92 times for Brazil, while Neymar has already made 104 international appearances.

Although Neymar overtook Ronaldo at a relatively younger age, Brazil coach Tite seemed reluctant to compare the PSG star with the country's past greats.

After the game, Tite said, "It's unfair making comparisons. He is the bow and the arrow, he's a player who both makes and takes chances. And he gets better and better, and more mature. Each generation has its own merits. Ronaldo was extraordinary, Rivaldo was extraordinary, Romario and Bebeto as well, each one in his own time. He has the ability to get the ball in the most relevant areas of the pitch and he uses his creativity from there. That is his top characteristic as a player."

Neymar Getty Images

Neymar equalled Ronaldo's record in the 28th minute when he scored his side's first goal from the spot. Before that, Peru was leading 1-0 courtesy of Andre Carillo's strike in the 6th minute. The first half ended 1-1.

12 minutes into the second half and Renato Tapia netted the ball to help the hosts take the lead once again. However, Peru's lead was short-lived as Richarlison scored the third for Brazil in the 64th minute. Then, Neymar scored from another penalty in the 83rd minute to equalise the score in a heart-pumping affair. The 28-year old Olympic gold medal winner struck again during the injury time to seal a crucial victory for the visitors.

Neymar already has four career hat-tricks with Brazil in all competitions, the same number as Lionel Messi with Argentina. In contrast, Cristiano Ronaldo had scored only two international hat-tricks for Portugal before turning 29.